30 July 2008

How Masculine or Feminine are you?

Via the New Scientist's technology blog, comes this post where a simple piece of javascript will analyse your url history to work out the probability of you being male or female, i.e. whether you are full-on red-blooded male or a dainty, buxom female.

I get the following:

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 23%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 77%

Hmm... Guess I need to start playing rugby and drinking more beer instead of the rosé...

The Most Offensive Advert of the Year? II

I've previously mentioned an advert that was banned due to being offensive as it showed a humorous gay kiss.

That's to the Torygraph, I've found this advert which may beat it:

It's been banned as Americans (its a UK ad) complained it was offensive to gay people. how is this offensive to anyone? There's no way this ad had a go at gay people nor is there anyway any intelligent person could even suggest there is one.

26 July 2008

SOCPA is (effectively) dead!

Via Tim, comes this wonderful piece of news on IndyMedia:

"...[T]owards the end of the proceedings, the Judge closed the case without allowing Barbara [Tucker] to sum up, and the case was adjourned for the judge to consider his verdict. What came out however, was a bombshell for SOCPA. Barbara has been requesting the prosecution case summary for four months prior to this hearing, and only finally received it in Court yesterday [24th July]. Hidden amongst pages and pages of print about the incident was the following remarkable statement: 'OWING TO CHANGES IN SOCPA LEGISLATION THE UNAUTHORISED DEMONSTRATION OFFENCES CANNOT BE PROCEEDED WITH'"

Although SOCPA is still on the statute books - and can therefore still be enforced at any time - it seems like the CPS have been given orders not to proceed with any prosecutions over "demonstrations" within the 1 km radius, so the law is effectively dead.

Tim said he's thinking of going over to Westminster to try it out. I'll do the same.

24 July 2008

D-Notice: Religious Nuts

Time for another "I'm Spartacus" moment.

Via Ministry of Truth comes this that's been mentioned on the Wardman Wire about something published by a British cartoonist named Dave Walker (I've been trying to get my head around it and it seems to relate to the publication of bankruptcy proceedings against a British chain of Christian bookshops in the US):
  1. St Aidan to Abbey Manor - David Keen - Vicar (Yeovil)
  2. The Wardman Wire - Matt Wardman (audio of BBC interview from 12/2007)
  3. Gentle Wisdom - Peter Kirk
  4. Bishop Alan’s Blog - Alan Wilson, Area Bishop of Buckingham
  5. Blogula-Rasa - Ginny (detailed - worth a read)
  6. Metacatholic - Doug Chaplin - Vicar (West Midlands)
  7. Of course, I could be wrong - Madpriest - Priest (somewhere in England)
  8. Seven whole days - Scott Gunn - Parish Priest (Rhode Island) and Lambeth Conference.
  9. Thinking Anglicans - Simon Kershaw - Cambridge, England (likely to follow further press coverage)
  10. The Jewish Blog Network - How to recover deleted pages. Firefox Resurrect Pages add-on.
  11. Lingamish - Blogger Bludgeoned by Bozos - David Ker - Mozambique. Kudos for the cartoon above.
  12. [Update: 23/07/2008] SPCK Watch - Gagging attempts by Mark Brewer - SPCK Watch. (Somewhere in Europe). Whole blog devoted to SPCK saga.
  13. [Update: 23/07/2008] Elizaphanian - We are all Dave Walkers now - Sam Norton, Rector of West Mersea, Essex. Suggests that we reposts Dave’s ex-posts from Google Cache
  14. [Update: 23/07/2008]Mad Hare - Solidarity post - SPCK/SSG and Dave Walker (New Mexico : United States).
  15. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]The Cartoon Blog - Cease and Desist Demand from Mark Brewer Dave’s original post - now gone
  16. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]GOD, CHRIST: QUESTIONS & FAITH - More and More on the Exploding SPCK Story & Dave Walker’s Cartoon Church Blog Check out the illustration from the 1950s
  17. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Saintly Ramblings - Dave Walker Solidarity Post
  18. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]SPCK/SSG: News, Notes & Info - Comments on ModerationExpect comment when owner returns from holiday
  19. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]PamBG’s Blog - Those Christian Bookshops
  20. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Scatter Cushions - Nothing like like having an informed debate
  21. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]connexions - Cartoon blogger silenced
  22. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Turbulent Cleric - Libel law used as censorship Reflections on the Craig Murray case
  23. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Exigency In Specie - Bullying the Bloggers Southern England
  24. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Asingleblog - Brewers are challenged in court More detail on the attempt to put SPCK UK into Chapter 11 in the USA
  25. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Philip’s Tree House - I’m also Dave Walker
  26. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]John Inbetween - Yet another Dave Walker
  27. [Update:24/07/2008 AM]Wormwood’s Doxy - Because there’s nothing I hate more than a bully….Standing up for Dave Walker & SPCK
Like I said I'm not quite sure what it's about, but that's no reason to send a cease and desist letter.

"Drinking Alcohol is Prohibited on Public Transport"

I've previously mentioned the London transport booze ban which was announced and came into force shortly after Boris Johnson was elected.

I thought I'd give a quick update into how effective the law is (via the London Underground blog):

Hmm... Flagrant breaches of the law (and drinking "Foster's"!). Hanging's too good for them!


From Comedy Central, comes Steven Colbert's views on how to improve the USA - join the EU!

What will the Euro-sceptics think?

23 July 2008

The New Terrorists: The Mentally Disabled

From the BBC:

A police officer has been transferred from duties at a Channel crossing after a disabled child and his parents were detained under the Terrorism Act.

[The child's mum] Ms Maynard, a legal advocate, said the officer, who failed to identify who she was, asked for the family's passports then asked "who's the boy?".

"My son is mixed race and the officer then told us, 'I believe you are child trafficking'," she said.

The family were then detained under the Terrorism Act and surrounded by "at least 10 police officers" who ordered them to get out of their car.

Ms Maynard was separated from her husband and son, who is autistic and has cerebral palsy, and taken to a detention room for questioning, leaving Joshua distressed.

Ms Maynard said the woman officer told her: "It's obvious he [Joshua] has nothing to do with you".

I agree with the Police's actions in this case. You can't trust people who have severe learning disabilities especially when they're mixed-race!

22 July 2008

Astoria RIP

London's famous music venue the Astoria had today been given it's death warrant, as the Crossrail Bill (now Crossrail Act) was approved by the House of Lords.

ID Cards = Obsolete Technology

Thanks to Sim-O, I've discovered this:

A new hand held device which checks fingerprints is being used by police in Derbyshire, it has been confirmed.

The Lantern, which is roughly the size of a small shoebox, can check the identity of an individual against police records in two minutes.

I'm conflicted: is this good news or bad news? It's good news as we don't need ID cards for "crime prevention", but bad news in that this just as much an invasion of our privacy.

There's also this:

If no match is found, the information is discarded, officers said.

Yeah, right! In the way that innocent people's DNA samples are discarded?


Via Photoshop Disasters, comes this not-at-all-obvious piece of Photoshop-pery from the Sun:

At least the Sun isn't blatant with its ethnic cleansing... The BNP would be proud!

21 July 2008

A Leisurely Stroll in London

Thanks to the Devil's Kitchen, I've found out about this casual stroll.

The idea is very simple: on 5th November at 12:00 p.m. (advance notice!) we meet at Trafalgar Square and go for a nice leisurely walk down Whitehall to Parliament Square and back. Some people may be going dressed up as Guy Fawkes, some may not.

Everyone needs exercise now and again.

18 July 2008

Too stupid to be Contempt of Court?

Thanks to Regret the Error, I've found this interesting "reason" for an act of contempt of Court which was performed by ITV Central:

Broadcaster ITV Central was fined £25,000 for contempt of court after it ran a news item about a trial which was about to start - and included details of a defendant's previous conviction for murder.

The court - Lord Justice Pill, sitting with Mr Justice King - heard that ITV Central broadcast a 23-second long report on a regional television programme which referred to a trial involving five men which was due to start later that day. The report said that one of the accused had been convicted of murder and was serving a jail sentence.

The item was repeated on two late morning news bulletins.

The trial judge postponed the proceedings after details of the report were drawn to his attention.

ITV Central told the court that it accepted that a basic and serious aberrational error occurred through publication of the report, but argued in mitigation that regard should be had to the fact that the error of revealing an accused's antecedents before trial was so "blindingly obvious" that it had not anticipated that a trained journalist preparing a news report for broadcast would make such an error.

So they're saying that they're too stupid and/or incompetent for it to be classed as being in contempt of Court?

12 July 2008

Help Craig Murray again

Been meaning to mention this...

Craig Murray has once again received a "stop saying nasty things about our client" letter from those delightful people at Schillings Solicitors. This time it's over a book, about a mercenary named Tim Spicer, which has not yet even been published!

The letter can be downloaded from Craig's site (pdf), but Ministry of Truth has kindly converted it into an HTML document for easier spreading, which I'll republish:

Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Limited
7 Albany Street

OurRef: SMS/JXR/ww/A131/3
08 July 2008

Dear Sirs

The Road to Samarkand - Craig Murray

We represent Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Spicer OBE, C.E.O. of Aegis Defence Services Limited (”Aegis”).

We are instructed to write to you with regard to ‘THE ROAD TO SAMARKAND- INTRIGUE, CORRUPTION AND DIRTY DIPLOMACY’ (”the Book”) written by Craig Murray and due to be published in September 2008 by you (http://www.rbooks.co.uk/search results.aspx) to be sold in England and Wales by Random House Sales Department.

We have reason to believe that the Book may contain serious, untrue and damaging defamatory allegations about our client.

Please confirm by return whether the Book is due to be published in England and Wales in September 2008 and if so, the exact date. Please also confirm whether the Book is due to be published in any other jurisdiction, setting out each jurisdiction, together with the publication date and publisher concerned in each case.

Importantly, we require you to confirm by return whether or not the Book contains any reference to our client, and if so, we require you to set out in full each and every reference to our client in its entirety to give our client the opportunity to take legal advice and to respond to any allegations in good time prior to publication.

Any widespread publication of the Book containing defamatory allegations concerning our client would be deeply damaging to our client’s personal and professional reputations and would cause him profound distress and anxiety. We remind you that you would be responsible for that damage and any subsequent republication of the allegations. We also put you on notice that you will be liable for any special damage or loss suffered by our client as a result of the Book and we reserve all our client’s rights in this regard.

We note from your website http://www.mainstreampublishing.com/news_current.html that Mr Murray is due to speak about the Book at a ‘Mainstream author event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival’ entitled ‘Lived Lives’ on 12th August 2008 at 4.30pm in the RBS Main Theatre, Edinburgh. We hereby put both you and Mr Murray on notice that all our client’s rights are reserved in relation to any defamatory comments or publications made by you or Mr Murray in relation to that event.

Please immediately take into your possession all drafts of the Book pre-publication, all notes, emails, correspondence, memos, images and other documents relevant to the publication of this Book, and preserve them safely pending the outcome of this dispute. They will need to be disclosed in due course if litigation has to be commenced. Also, you will need to disclose the financial arrangements for the sale and licence of the Book to other publications.

In the circumstances, we require that you confirm immediately that you agree to undertake on behalf of Mainstream Publishing Company (Edinburgh) Limited not to publish any libels regarding our client in any editions of the Book or at all.

We require the above undertaking by 4pm on Friday 11h July 2008, failing which we will have no option but to advise our client with regard to making applications to the High Court for an injunction to restrain publication and/or for pre-action disclosure. You are on notice that we will seek to recover the costs of any necessary applications from you.

We await your response by return. In the meantime all our client’s rights are reserved, including the right to issue proceedings against you without further notice.

Yours faithfully

cc. Craig Murray Esq.

As MoT points out, to demand the full thing in advance, is just a fishing expedition, i.e. "Let's see what we can find, there must be summat we can use"... Spread the word.

9 July 2008

Magnetic Attraction

Thanks to the Bad Astronomer (a misnomer), I've found this video on how magnetic fields work.

Magnetic Movie from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

Despite the apparent nerdiness of the subject, it's quite artistic as the fields have been drawn on afterwards using actual measurements to show how the move about and interact with other things.

Oddly, it also goes really well with the Orb's Towers of Dub... I think it's the voiceover that does it.

8 July 2008

Boris and Congestion Charging

During the campaign for the Supreme Overlord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson's manifesto included promises to make changes to the Congestion Charge (CC).

He said he'd launch a consultation into the extension of the CC into Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea, i.e. the posh and rich western bits of central London, as well as scrapping a planned increase of the charge to £25 for the most polluting vehicles and would also have scrapped the resident's discount for driving the most polluting cars.

Red Ken had already put people on notice about the £25 charge, which was due to come into force yesterday, but Boris scrapped it. I don't generally have a problem with a politician sticking to their promises (ID cards excluded); however, I have serious problem with how he's gone about it.

Porsche had launched a legal action against TfL and Red Ken over the £25 charge. Which was due to come to Court; however, due to Boris's decision, it now won't happen and the taxpayer also has to give them, or more accurately their lawyers, £400,000 in legal costs. What's worse it that it creates an appalling precident: if a company complains that something will affect their profitability, e.g. the sales of polluting sports cars, the authorities, instead of seeing them in Court and letting a judge decide, will just cave in! This could be used by companies who feel they're being victimised by employment, pensions or health 'n' safety laws.

Boris has also said he'd launch a consultation into the CC extension, which again I don't have a problem with. The thing I don't understand is that yesterday the second phase of the London-wide Low Emission Zone came into force, which, strangely, Boris supports

"'Londoners and visitors to our great city deserve to breathe air of the highest possible quality; not splutter on a smog of poisonous fumes belching from the exhausts of buses and lorries.

'The majority of lorries that were affected by phase one of the Low Emission Zone have cleaned up their act and meet the necessary standard.

'And I hope that many of the operators affected by phase two will already have followed their example.

Can someone explain how he can be opposed to a congestion charge in one instance, which covers a small area, yet at the same time be in favour of another which covers pretty much the whole of Greater London?

7 July 2008

The After-life

Thanks to Pharyngula, I've found this cartoon of what happens when we die and haven't accepted Jesus and God into our hearts.

If God's really like that, I'm better off without religion...

6 July 2008

"Vauxhall South" and "Battersea" tube stations?

The people who now own Battersea Power Station have been promoting their plans for the currently derelict listed building.

No, they don't plan to just something it for album covers or Dr. Who episodes, they instead want to use it for office space, hotels and shopping, like a lot of things in the Village.

What interests me is that they've been doing feasibility studies with Transport for London into extending the Tube into the Battersea area, as you can see from this photo taken by Annie Mole of the Going Underground blog. Their plan is to extend the Charing Cross bit of the Northern line from Kennington to Battersea.

Thanks to London Connections, a photo of their plans is on t'Internet. If you look closely above the key, you'll see the outline of a further station which London Connections says is where Vauxhall Sainsbury's is located! From the map, it looks like it would be quite easy to extend it further to somewhere in-between the existing Battersea train stations, making one big station.

They plan to have the thing re-opened by 2015. Let's hope they do.